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Bulletin No 47

Tynedale Chess Club: e-bulletin no 47 (5.4.12)

First up this time is the

Durham Chess Congress

This was held at Houghton-le-Spring on March 16-18 and five members of the club took part. David Wrigley mixed it with the big boys in the Open, where he was seeded 15th of the 18 entries. Mark Taylor (on a brief visit from the States) and Phil played in the Major, for players graded under 165. Mark was seeded 8th of the 19 entries and Phil 15th. In the Minor, for players graded under 125, Matthew was seeded 5th of the 20 entries and Steve 7th. From this it will be apparent that entries overall were substantially down on previous years, so that the future for this event looks somewhat uncertain.

On Friday 16th, David, Matthew and Steve took byes, while Mark started well, with a draw against Dave Stebbings – so much for another three months since Christmas spent by Mark living in a chess-free zone in the USA! Phil found himself up against ten-year old Zheming Zhang, who now boasts a grade of 150 and who duly took the point.

On Saturday, David’s prize for winning his round two game against William Taylor of Durham (grade 161) was black against Jonathan Hawkins (grade 254). David reckoned he occupied roughly twice as much of Jonathan’s time – i.e. ten minutes –  as when the pair first met, earlier in the season.

In the Major, Mark defeated Noel Boustred of Gosforth (143) in the morning, then drew with the top seed Colin Smith of Peterlee (161) in the afternoon – not a bad day’s work! Phil lost his morning game with Colin – a tough draw after being Zheminged in round 1 – and was given a well-deserved full-point bye in the afternoon, though honesty compels me to record that he played a grading game against Gary Clarke of Consett (121) and lost!

In the Minor, Matthew kept up the Taylor tradition by drawing with Stan Johnson of South Shields (122) in the morning, then drew again in the afternoon against Szymon Palucha of Durham (95) – well, you can’t expect to beat a man with a name like that! Steve lost to Sri Sriharan (102) in the last game of the entire morning session to finish, swallowed a quick lunch and tackled Matthew Walter of Thornaby (100) not long afterwards. Steve had lost his queen for a rook and a pawn by move 9 (and no, it wasn’t a gambit) and was much relieved when his opponent resigned on move 21, after just 55 minutes.

And so to the final day. In round 4 David lost a close game with Brett Addison (196) which hinged on a weak pawn of David’s. In round 5, David drew with Paul Robson of Durham (173), though he felt his opponent could have won had he really been minded to. 2/5 in his first year in the Open was not at all a bad start.

Mark lost his round 4 game against Brian Robinson of Bishop Auckland (140), who dismantled Mark’s “inadequate” (I quote) attack and then targetted Mark’s uncastled queen. In round 5 Mark drew with John Findlay of Durham (139) in a very complex end-game where each player had two knights and three pawns. 2.5/5 for a man who plays almost no chess is not to be sneezed at.

Phil’s congress got no better when he blundered two pawns and then a knight in losing to Mazier Jalini (140), but he bounced back in the final round, forcing a draw with Chris Smith of Tynemouth (132). The ending involved a rook and four pawns each -no room for error here – and Phil’s play was spot on. 1.5/5 in his first outing in the Major. Phil has certainly played better and will doubtless put it down to experience.

In the Minor, Matthew disposed of Geoff Garnett of Elmwood (99), then lost to Ron Ratter of Hebburn (107). 2.5/5 was a respectable overall score. Steve was outplayed from start to finish by Bill Egan of Scunthorpe (124) and completed a wretched day by losing to Dave Watson of Morpeth (106), when a mate in two materialised out of the blue, just as Steve felt he was in the driving seat. 1.5/5 was his worst ever congress result. Hopefully things can only get better!

And so to

Northumbria League division one

I was unable to give reports on last month’s action, so many thanks to David Wrigley, who has provided the following reports on all outstanding Tans’ matches: “Having plundered a point from Morpeth A, could the Tans go one better against their B team? Morpeth B have been struggling this season, but there is little to choose between us and them going by grade, and I’m expecting them to make a late push for survival.

Peter is proving very solid in the Northumberland league this season! His account:

“My game was a Dutch and I think that I managed to keep a slight edge throughout. However Geoff Loxham didn’t make any errors and after a series of exchanges [with further unavoidable exchanges to follow] I was left with insufficient to press for a win – hence yet another draw!” 0.5-0.5

Jeremy was back at his old stomping ground with a point to prove! Faced with an early f-pawn shove, he was soon under some pressure, as Alan Welsh looked to be stirring up trouble on the kingside. Jeremy reacted coolly and sacrificed a pawn in the centre to open up the game. Wholesale exchanges were unavoidable and Jeremy was left with queen and bishop against Alan’s queen and knight. Jeremy was still a pawn down, but Alan’s knight was awkwardly placed and his King more exposed, which proved to be more important. Jeremy won his pawn back and then weaved a mating net. 1.5-0.5

George Ellames played an unusual Pirc system against David Wrigley. After about 12 moves of what George said was theory and David thought looked interesting, George blundered, allowing David to win George’s two best minor pieces for a rook. George lashed out, thrusting a rook behind enemy lines, but he was too far behind in development and David won rook for bishop. David, with an extra piece and an active position, cautiously mopped up. 2.5-0.5

Tim Wrigley’s game with James Chadwick started fairly sedately, both sides forgoing instant aggression for slow build-up and strong piece placement. Tim’s pawns were further advanced and a breakthrough on the queenside looked a strong possibility, but James managed to defuse the danger tactically. In the ending that ensued, Tim’s pieces were slightly awkwardly placed, but he had a big clock advantage and both players were relieved to get away with a draw. 3-1 A win!

Dave Weldon was up against Les Whittle. He writes of his game: “I defended as black against Les Whittle’s queen’s pawn opening, equalising early and gaining a central & kingside space advantage. Lines to white’s kingside were opened and black developed a promising attack, winning a pawn and sending white’s king to seek queenside refuge. Black’s advantage appeared overwhelming but Les found the best moves to keep hanging in there. A draw was eventually agreed – black a pawn up but only 2 minutes on the clock. Computer analysis confirms that I missed an earlier winning line and that black’s final positional advantage is less than the full pawn.” 3.5-1.5

So the Tans take another two match points, (temporarily) jumping to 5th in the league, and our survival prospects now look excellent. A sterling team effort, noone has lost in Tans colours for almost a month!

Morpeth B 1.5-3.5 Tynedale Tans
George Ellames(165) 0-1 David Wrigley
Les Whittle(150) 0.5-0.5 Dave Weldon
James Chadwick(139) 0.5-0.5 Tim Wrigley
Alan Welsh(134) 0-1 Jeremy Handley
Geoff Loxham(137) 0.5-0.5 Peter Crichton “

The second match was at home to Tynemouth Trojans. David writes:

Tynedale Tans 2-3 Tynemouth Trojans

A match now lost to the mists of time! Captain David cried off with toothache and failed to get the story. Commentary is provided on the losses, and congratulations are provided on the other three (excellent) results.

David Weldon 0 -1 David Henderson (176). Dave writes “I was black against David Henderson’s Ruy Lopez Worrall Attack and gained control of the centre during the middle game and eventually developed a strong attack. As is often the case I ended up in time trouble and missed a fairly obvious line which would probably have resulted in winning queen for rook. I ended up with two knights for white’s rook and pawn, which still offered winning chances, but alas, less than a minute on the clock. I blundered one of the knights and tendered my resignation before the flag fell.”

Tim Wrigley 0-1 Gary Cornwall (170). The opening and early middlegame were a high quality affair, neither side giving anything away. The tension was building nicely, but Gary found a nice trick: after multiple piece exchanges, he managed to engineer a route for his knight on d3. Tim was down but not out, and he defended his position stoutly. Gary produced a very nice exchange sac, not for a quick mate but for positional compensation. Gary’s pieces were too well coordinated for Tim to handle, and material ruin followed. An excellent game.

Jeremy Handley ½-½ Mick Riding (171) Another doughty draw against a strong player! Derek Blair 1-0 Dave Jarema (164) . An excellent result against a strong player!

Peter Crichton ½-½ Chris Smith (132) Another doughty draw against a strong player!!!

A strong showing by a (dareisayit) weakened Tans side. More of the same please !

Jesmond Knights vs Tans

Jeremy was first off the board: He was on the white side of a Grunfeld with Paul Bielby the black. Jeremy had much the better of the opening, his pieces were better placed and he had better central control. Unfortunately, “Paul kept finding annoying ways to relieve the pressure” (JH) and they arrived in a rook & bishops of opposite colour ending. A draw! 0.5-0.5

Tim was unlucky to get nothing out of a scintillating game against enfant terrible Amarvansh Singh. An unpromising exchange French produced a very symmetrical position, but then the game exploded! Both pairs of bishops came off, and all four knights came together on the kingside, jousting and jolting for position. Eventually they came to rest, Tim’s knight had found itself a strong outpost on e4, whilst Amarvansh’s was slightly less aggressively placed on f4, but in the melee Tim’s kingside pawn structure had become a bit untidy. Tim pushed a pawn to g5, to kick the knight, but this created a fatal weakness on f6 that Amarvansh latched on to. Tim, his energies focussed on defending his backward pawn, allowed Amaravansh’s knight into his position, which collapsed. 0.5-1.5

Alex had to deal with rising star James Moreby, who won’t be board 5 for long if this performance is any indicator. Alex went about attacking whilst jettisoning a couple of pawns but James defended impressively for one so young. They reached a rook and minor piece ending where James had two extra pawns – in such positions finding the right plan can be difficult, but whilst Alex defended resolutely, James played very impressively and even won a third pawn. Alex dug in and snuck back a pawn, but James had advanced connected passed pawns by now, and they proved too much. 0.5-2.5

David was out-transposed by Ed, who ended up in his favourite Caro-Kann. Ed set up a super-solid position and David set up a big clock disadvantage. David, short on time and struggling for a plan, started playing waiting moves and Ed moved into attack. He overpressed and endangered his queen. In order to escape he had to let a pawn go, and with it David found a strong counterattack. Ed then imploded, sacrificing a rook for a couple of checks when simple defence would have left David too short of time to prosecute the attack. David, now a clean piece up and in no real danger, blitzed out a win. 1.5-2.5

Peter had a double-edged game with recent returnee (and proud chess parent) Kurt Moreby. After early exchanges, the queenside became the theatre of action and a duel of queens (with supporting cast) ensued. Events on board 1 meant your reporter missed a crucial passage of play, but Kurt ended up with the upper hand. When the final coup de grace came, the onlookers could only smile – Peter’s position had looked very solid, and yet Kurt was winning a piece. A pity for Peter after a hard-fought game, but it was a very attractive finish.  1.5-3.5

Jesmond Knights 3.5-1.5 Tynedale Tans
Ed Dodds (184) 0-1 David Wrigley
Amarvansh Singh (168) 1-0 Tim Wrigley
Paul Bielby (166) 0.5-0.5 Jeremy Handley
Kurt Moreby (ug) 1-0 Peter Crichton
James Moreby (ug) 1-0 Alex Ashworth

5 good games. Points ain’t everything!

Tans vs Eldon Leisure

Events elsewhere meant the Tans’ presumed safety was confirmed before our final match of the season. It wasn’t over, though! A heavy defeat to Eldon Leisure would allow them to leapfrog us in the table. We weren’t having that!

Derek Blair vs Ted Jarah was a very even contest which passed without too much incident (read: David missed the action). Upon Derek’s first draw offer, Ted was heard to remark “I think we owe it to the game to continue a little longer”. Upon his second offer: “I don’t think it’s reasonable to continue” So they didn’t. 0.5-0.5

Jeremy Handley and Norman Marshall also looked to be heading towards a draw. They arrived in a balanced double rook and opposite coloured bishops ending, in which Norman “managed to manoeuvre himself into a tough position”. He then managed to manoeuvre a rook into the path of a bishop, where it was taken for free. 1.5-0.5

David Weldon and Stefan Hartmann shared a queens pawn game, in which Dave once again had slightly the better of things in a very complex position. Stefan managed to hold things together, and was threatening to take over the initiative, forcing Dave to exchange down into an ending. In mutual time trouble, Dave left a rook en prise. 1.5-1.5

David and Paul on board one had shared a point in a Milner-Barry gambit with each other the week before at the Durham congress, so shared a smile when Tim Wrigley and Nigel Villalard essayed it on board three. Tim was black, and hung on to his extra pawn easily, before collecting rook for his knight to boot. For the exchange and pawn, Nigel had good control over the dark squares on Tim’s kingside, and Tim’s king’s rook was stuck on its home square. Nigel set a cheeky trap in the middle of the board…. and Tim overlooked it, allowing Nigel’s knight to destroy the pawn chain in front of his king. Tim fought on for a bit, but his position was compromised and his counter-attacking forces were too poorly coordinated to resist for long. Swindled! 1.5-2.5

David was quickly in trouble against Paul Robson. Paul played a bold knight sally on move 5 which David hadn’t met before and didn’t meet in the correct way. Paul didn’t take full advantage, but retained the initiative, better pawn structure and better development to boot. David hung on for about ten moves, and Paul’s grip on the position seemed to loosen, but David was soon in time trouble. Paul spent a bit too long trying to find a forced win, joining David in time trouble. In the melee that followed, David sacrificed a rook for a trick Paul could’ve side stepped. Paul missed it, David won Paul’s queen and simplified into a winning position.

Tans 2.5-2.5 Eldon Leisure
David 1-0 Paul Robson (173)
Dave 0-1 Stefan Hartmann (153)
Tim 0-1 Nigel Villalard (155)
Jeremy 1-0 Norman Marshall (132)
Derek 0.5-0.5 Ted Jarah (131)

Well matched teams in draw shock! Probably a fair result overall, though the only result that reflects the balance of play was board 5. A satisfactory end to what has been an excellent season for the Tans.

The league has more or less been split in three: Leam Lane alone at the top, 5 teams below them fighting for second, and six teams at the bottom battling relegation. We finished 7th, top of the relegation super-six, with 8 points from 11 matches and an impressive 26 game points from 55 games.

Season stats:

    Played Av Board Percent
David: ldlwllww-ww P10 1 55%
Dave: wwwwllwdl-l P10 1.9 55%
Tim: d-l-wwwdlll P9 2.78 44.4%
Jeremy: —dddlwwddw P9 3.67 61.1%
Peter: dd-l—ddl- P6 4.5 33%
Derek: —l—-w-d P3 4 67, 50%
Alex: lll-ll—l- P6 4.5 0%
Phil: -w—-w—- P2 5 100%

David Wr has swindled his way to a good score on top board and Dave We has enjoyed some good form, whilst Tim has done well in newly rarefied air. Jeremy has consistently scored all season long, his single loss in nine games is particularly impressive. Peter has been tough to beat and unfortunate not to win, Alex has had a hard time courtesy of a big grade hike. Derek, when in the country, has played well, his only loss coming in on time in a completely won position. Phil “indomitable” Taylor hasn’t dropped so much as half a point in the 1st division for at least three seasons!

A big thanks to all who played. “

Again my thanks to David for the above and my congratulations to the Tans on their best season for a very long time. Long may their secure position in division one last!

Northumbria League division two

Three matches to report on here, as the Reivers catch up on postponed fixtures. The first was a home match against Tynemouth Warriors on Tuesday March 20th, with the following line-up:

Phil (124) v Dennis Beagarie (124)
Dave F sr (131) v Phil Jackson (120)
Bruce (123) v A. Harris (u)
Steve (119) v Malcolm Robson (97)
Raoul (u) v P. Combellack (u)

First to finish was Steve, whose kingside attack fizzled out with the loss of a bishop for two pawns, while his opponent’s king sat safely castled on the queenside. However, queenside pressure caused black to drop a knight and two more pawns. It looked safe for white, but black had two powerful rooks and the game was only decided when black, in order to stop white’s f-pawn from queening, had to place one rook on a square where both rooks could be forked by white’s knight. 1-0

Next to finish was Bruce, who lost a piece in a vain attempt to deal with pressure on his h-file and who was never in the game thereafter, though he soldiered on valiantly. 1-1

Dave had a long and even game until he dropped a pawn in the endgame, leaving his opponent with two connected, passed pawns which eventually decided the outcome. 1-2

Playing on top board for the first time, Phil reached a position where he was a pawn up, but with a lot of play on both sides. He writes:”My opponent started with c4, an opening I know well as Mark plays this a lot so I countered with b6 which is not a standard reply but which gets black’s bishop onto the long diagonal countering one of white’s aims which is to control d5. I made some mistakes in the opening allowing white to nearly get away with a skewer of Queen and Rook but fortunately managed to hang on and keep material even. I had the worst of the position but as pieces came off the board white eventually allowed me to go a pawn up… From there on it was a question of not making mistakes. Fortunately (or thanks to good play but probably good fortune) my pawns were mainly on black squares and so immune to my opponent’s white squared bishop. He tired a little trick, looking to fork rook and knight but I had already seen it and then forced the exchange of rooks. I think the fact that my pawns were evenly balanced on both wings probably helped & when I got my King out more quickly it became only a matter of time. When my opponent eventually accepted the inevitable I had 15 minutes on my clock to his 4 and 5 pawns to his 1!” This was an excellent result and Phil’s endgame play was impeccable. 2-2

So it was all down to board 5, where Raoul had blundered a piece early on and for much of the game was 20 minutes down on time. However, his opponent played utterly defensively, with not even a pawn advanced beyond his third rank, allowing Raoul to muster a huge attack involving five pieces. Even so, it was touch and go whether he could break through in time. He held his nerve, kept his opponent under acute pressure and at the last gasp mated him. 3-2

A welcome win for the Reivers which cements their mid-table position.

Their next match was away to Gateshead A on Monday March 26th. This was always going to be a tough fixture, and the line-up on the day confirmed it:

Robin Horner (150+?)   Derek (138)
Gagik Abaryan (146) v Phil (124)
Bill Noble (138) v Bruce (123)
Ken Owen (132) v Steve (119)
Peter Wells (130) v Dave Foster jr (85)

Last to start (Ken arrived late) and first to finish was Steve. Ken opted for the Exchange Variation of the French Defence and in no time at all pieces, starting with the queens, were flying off the board. By move 24, with just rook, bishop and six pawns each, the position was totally even and Ken offered the draw. 0.5-0.5

Next up was Dave, who was giving away 45 grading points and who played out of his socks to hold Peter to a draw. Dave started with all guns blazing and established powerful pawns on b4, c4 and d4. In an attempt to escape from a very cramped position, black was obliged to embark on a multiple series of exchanges. On move 22, with just bishop and pawns versus knight and pawns, Peter offered the draw. 1-1

Bruce forsook his beloved English opening and trialled the Queen’s Gambit instead. Bill responded with the Benko Gambit, which Bruce had never before encountered and he soon found himself in deep water. Bill established a pair of bishops on Bruce’s third rank with an unstoppable threat on Bruce’s entire pawn structure and no counter-play. 2-1 to Gateshead.

Phil’s game with Gagik was a cracker. He reached the endgame a pawn up (rook, bishop and three pawns to rook, bishop and two), then allowed Gagik’s rook to pin his bishop on his king. The bishop went and it looked all over, but Phil fought on, pushing a passed pawn to the seventh rank. Gagik thought long and hard but couldn’t stop the pawn from queening. Instead he took a pawn with his rook and Phil, instead of queening, accepted the rook sacrifice. Now Gagik could stop the pawn queening and the game came down to a drawn rook and pawn versus bishop and pawn ending. 2.5-1.5

So the outcome of the match hinged on Derek’s game which went to the wire. He writes: “I had the edge in the opening and after the kingside was blocked the attack switched to the queenside, where black was inadequately developed. However, despite what looked like a promising position with both rooks connected, there did not appear to be a break-through tactic. Black consolidated and improved his position by centralising a knight which proved troublesome. As time petered out both players were looking for inspiration, black missed a terminal fork and white managed to take a central pawn but alternate captures reduced both players to their kings. Another draw!”

It should be said that Derek, aware that the outcome of the match hinged on this game, really pressurised his opponent in the final stages and came within an ace of trapping the black king, but Robin managed, just, to wriggle free. 3-2

So we lost the match but, on every board, gave the Gateshead players plenty to think about. Man of the match was undoubtedly Dave on board 5. Anyone with a grading just 45 points ahead of him should be shaking in their shoes!

Next up were Gosforth Regents, who were plumb bottom of division 2, sitting below Alnwick and the two Jesmond sides. This was an odd state of affairsas they have several useful players to call on and I always felt that this would not be an easy match. The line-up was:

Noel Boustred (137) v Dave Foster sr (131)
Bob Heyman (127) v Matthew Taylor (129)
Steve Wilde (117) v Bruce Reed (123)
Kristian Mills (U) v Steve Larkin (119)
Brian Ord (97) v Dave Foster jr (85)

It looked a finely balanced match but it didn’t really turn out that way. Dave sr was first to finish, wrapping up a draw quite early on, despite having gone a pawn down. He writes: “The opening was my usual e4 and he responded with c6. Now the Caro-Kann is a common defence against the kings pawn opening and d4 would be a typical response, however I played my normal Nc3 offering the exchange variation for a more aggresive position assuming that I might go a pawn down a bit later on, turning a semi-open game into a completely open one for both sides. During the middle game at least four pieces were en prise including a possible rook exchange loss, his queen facing an exposed check attack, a potentially devastating attack on his kingside and my king open to a typical Caro-Kann diagonal skewer. So when my connected (cosmetically) Knights attacked he simplified, I went the pawn down and he surprisingly offered a draw. A good result and a sound start for the rest of the team me thought.” 0.5-0.5

On board 5, Dave jr looked to be positionally up and materially even when he blundered a rook, after which there was no getting back into the game. He writes: “I tried to play on but my opponent was pushing on and I did not have much material to play on. Also I lost a knight by a clever fork and was running out of time, I think about ten mins left, so I resigned.”  1.5-0.5 to Gosforth.

Next to Matthew, who writes:”Bob played a standard Queen’s Gambit which I managed to completely botch by missing a simple tactic that left me with doubled isolated f-pawns. As the opening concluded, I had the opportunity to sack the front f-pawn in return for an attack down the middle that I was reasonably sure would regain me one of his central pawns. However, rather than play it the way I expected, Bob decided to try and punish my earlier decision to castle on the kingside by sacking a Bishop for my h-pawn, giving me a slight material advantage but with two semi-open files down which he was able to attack my King. I retained the material advantage throughout the game, but after a lengthy period of pressure down the kingside, he managed to force an exchange of Queens in a situation that gave him three passed pawns on the g and h-files. More material was traded; finally, on the verge of a win, Bob offered the draw, worried I’d be able to trade off the Knight for two pawns and make something happen.” Matthew  gratefully accepted Bob’s offer, then proceeded to show him how he could and should have won! 2-1

Bruce battled long and hard to try and get something more than a draw from his game but was unable to do so. He writes:” My opponent, Steven Wilde, settled down in a solid defensive position (QGD). After a couple of exchanges in the middle game I emerged with a slight material advantage (rook for knight and pawn), but despite pushing my king’s pawns down the board to try to break up his kingside defence had no decisive advantage. When he offered a draw the match was 1/2 – 1/2, and my quick tour of the boards to see how we fared suggested we did not have a decisive advantage in any of the games underway. We played on, but with the match decided, and only 2 minutes left on each of our clocks we settled for an honourable draw. I had two rooks and a bishop to his rook, knight and bishop, and two passed pawns on the a and b files but he had counterplay, and passed pawns on the other side of the board.”  2.5-1.5

Bruce’s game and Steve’s must have finished more or less together. Steve had been on the back foot for much of the game until he managed to get two passed pawns on the queenside. Kristian duly marched his king across to impede their progress and proceeded to push his three kingside pawns, which were opposed by only two of Steve’s. In the event, he queened a pawn before Steve could push beyond the sixth rank and expertly hunted Steve’s king down for the mate. 3.5-1.5

A disappointing result which might well have been even worse had Bob Heyman won, as he should have done. It certainly makes a mockery of the Regents’ current league position.

At this point the Reivers were left with two outstanding matches to play, but Leam Lane Comets have defaulted on one of those matches, so it just remains for the Reivers to play Forest Hall B to complete their season.

South Tyne League

As a result of this match, the Monarchs went into their final fixture, against HaydonBridge on March 13th, with a real chance of becoming league champions. The line-up this time was

David Wrigley v Ian McKay
Derek Blair v Christine Moorcroft
Malcolm Reid v David Tulip
Raoul Weston v Damian Rudge

Cap’n Blair writes: “David, playing Ian Mackay, won a major piece through a mistake in the middle game which proved conclusive. Raoul secured a piece advantage (somehow!) and went on to force his opponent’s resignation. Malcolm played a highly original defence with black pieces which negated his opponent’s English opening. Fianchettoing his queen bishop on his second move, he played g5 and h5 on moves 4 and 5 to attack white’s undeveloped kingside. Then by developing his king’s knight on h6 he advanced his g pawn further to open up the position and manoeuvre his queen to lend support. He took time to castle long and place his king’s bishop on d6 to complete his irregular development and win.”

A 4-0 win for the Monarchs, and a 31-24 win on handicap, proved, after the final fixture of the league had been played, to be enough to ensure that the Monarchs retained their league title for the fourth successive year, despite losing their first three matches! Cap’n Blair is certainly proving a wily skipper!

Club Championship

The all-play-all phase is now complete and the final table looks like this:

Derek Blair 6.5/9
Peter Crichton 5/7
Jeremy Handley 5/7
Peter Booker 5/11
Dave Foster sr 4.5/6
Bruce Reed 4.5/9
Phil Taylor 4.5/10
Raoul Weston 3/5
Alex Ashworth 3/6
Steve Larkin 2.5/8
Tim Wrigley 1.5/3
Dave Foster jr 1.5/4
David Wrigley 1/1
Matthew Taylor 1/2
Malcolm Reid 0.5/2
David Scott  0/8

The top eight qualify for the knockout phase, except that Raoul has withdrawn, so that Alex occupies the eighth place. Peter C is seeded second and Jeremy third by virtue of the rule which states that where two players have the same number of points from the same number of games, the lower graded player will be seeded above the higher graded player. Peter’s grade is 139 and Jeremy’s 141.

So the draw for the quarter-finals is Derek v Alex; Jeremy v Bruce; Peter C v Phil; and Peter B v Dave. Good luck to all and may the best man win!

Miscellanea

Zollner. David reports as follows on his progress in this competition. “Round 5. Martin Seeber. Martin’s unusual setup in the English worked well: David blundered two pawns in quick succession, and Martin could take his time in crushing any life out of the position. David tried to inject some tactics into the position, but it was hari-kiri and Martin swept up.

Round 6. Andy Robinson. They played a sideline of the modern defence, which neither player was familiar with. David allowed a nagging edge to evaporate, and Andy was quite content to swap every piece off he could. A dead-drawn pawn ending was the result.

David is on 2.5/6 going into the last round. “ And that, needless to say, is a very creditable score, especially when, as in David’s case, this is your first year playing in such exalted company.

Sell. I must apologize to Alex Ashworth, whose progress in the Sell I have completely overlooked until now. Alex has been more than a little coy about this event, perhaps because he managed only half a point from his first four games. However, on March 13th he had a decisive win over James Pharoah, who was then on two points, so it may be that Alex, with two rounds still to play, is coming back into form.

Forthcoming events:

16th South LakesChess Congress, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria June 8-10

British Chess Championships, North Shields July 22 to August 4

Northumberland Chess Congress, North Shields September 21-23.

Scarborough Chess Congress October 19-21

If you have read all of this and are still awake, congratulations!

Steve Larkin

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